I might have mentioned that I signed up for several authors and readers groups over the last two months to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry. Most of these I view quietly. One is my go-to place for honest opinion and support. Some have regular sneak peeks at other author’s works. I read them all and always comment on those that move me. It only takes a few minutes and it does two things aside from entertaining me when I take a break from writing. The first, these glimpses into other author’s imaginations allow me to see that I’m not alone in how my mind works. I find it fascinating to see others using words as texture and color like I do. Fascinating because I understand their artistry on a very personal level. Ever the shy outsider, I can only take a phrase from my magnum opus ~ When one is out of step with the rest of the world, it’s exhilarating to find your own kind.
The other thing reading and commenting does is encourage. As writing is an emotional art form, having an occasional good word about it feels really good inside. It’s like being told it’s OK to cry when you’re ready to explode with pent up emotion, or it’s OK to think like you do when your view isn’t mainstream or popular. It says it’s Ok to be you.
Last night I received a few emails from peers that made me hopeful. These authors either read or were reading my book Hermes Online and had wonderful words of praise. One told me she hadn’t read anything like it before, adding it was one of the most creative books she’s ever read. Another commented I must have a degree to practice such fine wordsmithery. It makes me so happy to think these seasoned professionals were inspired to say such nice things. Not because I think my book is a bad one. I’ve said before, if I can entertain myself reading it then I know it’s OK on some level. But because they took the time to tell me.
This has me hopeful because my story is written in first person – everything is run through the lens of my main character Vivienne. I was told by the publisher, when they accepted my manuscript, that readers didn’t like this point of view. There wasn’t enough escapism in first person. They softened the shadow of doubt a little by adding my story was contemporary and unique. They’d wait and see. Talk about nail biting! Here I am trying to break into this industry with a POV the publisher frowned upon. Sheesh What a way to start. Combine that with no way to track sales at Amazon and Barnes&Noble and we have a fine fret coming on.
Why this POV? I wanted several things with this story…first I wanted the reader to know something before the characters did. In the first person point of view, I felt the readers would have the opportunity to feel the depth of the emotion Vivienne was feeling. (I say again, I’m no Cormac McCarthy. You feel his emotion by just holding the book in your hands.) Using the first person POV to convey this emotion just made sense to me. Lastly, I wanted the reader to see how words evolved into love one syllable at a time. That’s what I like when I read. I want to get inside the character’s heads and don their skins, slip on their shoes and walk their journey with them. I like reading first person point of view. It’s the difference between reading a biography and an autobiography. Who knows better what’s what than the person living it?
It’s been suggested I promote this story hard. Honestly, I’m shooting in the dark here. Everyday since Hermes Online released, I devote time thinking of ways to do this. From what I’ve gathered by reading author postings, things can sometimes move very fast. Hermes Online is not moving fast. At least not in any discernible amount on my side of the fence. My husband reminds me I’ve only been in this business since mid-March. True enough. But this confirms there is far more promoting needed than I realized and so much yet to do.
Those nice reviews have done much to curb my nail biting today. After speaking with several people, there is one thing I find curious. SirenBookStrand didn’t tell me they’d be releasing my book in paperback. I had two books in at the time and only one was slated for both ebook and paperback. It wasn’t Hermes Online. It’s rather short for one of their paperbacks. I am delighted to say it comes in both forms – on both Amazon and B&N. Perhaps, they found it unique enough to take that chance, even with the undesirable POV. I noticed today that Amazon only had one book left for sale. Apparently someone is buying them. Now if only they’d tell two friends, and they’d tell two friends…and they’d tell two friends…and so on.
I think I’ll go give myself a manicure before I start writing for the day.